I watched my friend as we drove to a concert in Allston.
Driving through snow
I watch you
The Buddhist metaphor of people being like children playing in a burning house is striking in its immediacy, it states that “In this world, equally evanescent are men and their dwellings” (Inouye, 41). To me, the importance of leaving the house seems clear enough: the trappings and distractions of the material world and our attachment to these things needs to be discarded to reach true understanding. What puzzles me is the in-between space: in terms of ukiyo or the floating world (Inouye, 40). Here, I am referring to the body of liquid upon which the world floats. Upon entering this common space, we encounter each other as we are, without the theatrics of our ‘”houses”’—of course we carry the memory of the houses we abandoned; the lives that we led. The physical structures are anchors in the swiftly moving water even if they are just as evanescent as their dwellings. “If you conform to the world it will bind you hand and foot.” (Hōjōki, 58). The physical world is dangerous (one can be blinded, indefinitely, by the meaningless trappings of “life,”) but we do not think or understand ourselves in a vacuum; the physical world is a structure that we need, if only as ammunition against ‘structures’ from our position in the slipstream.